Ngqwele Dube, Sports Correspondent
FORMER Highlanders left back Khumbulani Banda says he is ready to resume his football career after being sidelined over a year from the game due to an injury sustained during a mugging.
Banda received a facial cut during an armed robbery that forced him to stay out of the game after he had been offloaded at South African club, Maritzburg United at the end of the 2015/2016 season.
He said he has started training on his own but will within the coming weeks engage local clubs as he seeks to start playing the game again.
“I was injured on the face when I was stabbed with a beer bottle during a robbery in September 2016 and this forced me to temporarily quit as I waited to heal.
“The injury also affected my eye making it difficult for me to quickly come back into the game but this year I am ready to make a return and I have been training on my own for the past month,” said Banda.
He said he hopes to have settled at a Premier Soccer League side by the time the 2018 season begins.
The 28-year-old player said he still believes he has what it takes to make it in the Premiership despite the long lay-off and feels he might only be lacking match fitness.
Banda moved to Highlanders in 2014 where he settled well commanding the left-back position before he was snapped up by Maritzburg during the mid-season transfer window.
He had an inconsistent stay at the Pietermaritzburg-based side and struggled to command a first team jersey coming in as a substitute on several occasions before the club decided to part ways with him in 2016.
Banda, who previously had stints with Bantu Rovers, Dynamos, How Mine and FC Platinum, revealed during his lay-off his interest in soccer saw him turn to coaching as he helped social soccer side Mayihlome Rangers to clinch the Bulawayo Soccer Social League Champions of Champions Trophy.
“With all the time I had, I decided to assist the team and for me it was a pleasant experience and it gave me an indication that I should turn to coaching once my playing career is over. I could not totally stay away from the game and coaching the social side helped me keep close to the game,” he said.